Avalanche Selects Seven Players at 2017 Draft

San Antonio Rampage

June 24, 2017 - American Hockey League (AHL) - San Antonio Rampage

News Release

Colorado picked three forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender at this year's draft, with all seven players coming from different leagues: the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League, Czech Republic, Russia, Big Ten and United States High School.

Colorado used its first two picks on defensemen, the first time since 2007 (Kevin Shattenkirk, First Round, 14th overall; Colby Cohen, Second Round, 45th overall) that the Avs have selected blueliners with their top two selections in the NHL Draft.

During the first round on Friday, the Avalanche selected defenseman Cale Makar with the fourth overall pick. Makar, 18, is the highest-ever draft pick from the AJHL, surpassing current Avalanche forward Joe Colborne (Camrose Kodiaks), who was selected by the Boston Bruins with the 16th overall pick in 2008.

The 5-foot-11, 187-pound defenseman spent the 2016-17 season with the Brooks Bandits, where he led all league defensemen with 75 points (24g/51a) in 54 games, which also ranked sixth among all skaters. He added 18 points (5g/13a) in 13 playoff contests to help the Bandits to their second consecutive AJHL championship, earning playoff MVP honors.

He was named the 2016-17 Canadian Junior Hockey League's Most Valuable Player and was the AJHL's Most Outstanding Defenseman and Most Valuable Player. The Calgary, Alberta, native is committed to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (Hockey East) for the upcoming season.

With the 32nd overall pick in the second round, Colorado tabbed Conor Timmins from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. Timmins, 18, had a breakout season in 2016-17, finishing tied for fourth among league blueliners with 61 points (7g/54a). His 54 assists and +53 plus/minus rating were both team highs and ranked third and fourth, respectively, among OHL defensemen. The 6-foot-2, 184-pound defenseman added eight points (1g/7a) in 11 postseason contests for the Greyhounds, who fell to the Owen Sound Attack in a six-game quarterfinal series of the OHL playoffs.

The Avalanche selected forward Nick Henry from Regina of the WHL with the No. 94 overall pick in the fourth round. Henry, who turns 18 on July 4, registered 81 points (35g/46a) in 72 games in his rookie campaign with the Pats this past season, finishing second among league rookies in all three statistical categories. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound right wing finished with a +32 plus-minus rating, which ranked first among all first-year players. Henry also contributed in the playoffs for WHL runner-up Regina, adding 12 points (4g/8a) in 22 postseason contests, fourth among all rookies in playoff points. The Pats fell to the Seattle Thunderbirds in the finals of the WHL playoffs.

Goalie Petr Kvaca was the Avs' second selection of the fourth round at 114th overall. Kvaca, 19, has spent the last five seasons in the Ceske Budejovice system, where he finished with a league-best 1.41 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage in 18 games for the Tier II team this past season. The 6-foot-1, 174-pound netminder appeared in 37 games for the Budejovice U20 team in 2015-16 and recorded a 3.15 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Internationally, he represented the Czech Republic at the 2016 World Junior A Hockey Challenge, finishing fourth among tournament goaltenders with a 2.40 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Kvaca becomes the sixth Czech player to be drafted by the Avalanche (since 1995) and the first since right wing David Svagrovsky in 2003.

In the fifth round, Colorado selected forward Igor Shvyrev with the 125th overall pick. Shvyrev, 18, spent time with both Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk of the Russian junior league and Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL in 2016-17. He registered 70 points (21g/49a) in 40 games for Stalnye Lisy and skated in 10 contests with Metallurg. Internationally, the 6-foot, 205-pound center represented Russia at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, contributing a point in five contests.

With its sixth selection (156th overall) of the NHL Draft, the Avalanche nabbed forward Denis Smirnov from Penn State University. Smirnov, 19, led the nation in freshman scoring in 2016-17 (19g/28a/47p) and set single-season school records with 47 points and 28 assists. His 19 goals were also a Penn State single-season record for tallies by a first-year player. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound left wing spent the previous three seasons with the Indiana Ice and the Fargo Force of the USHL, totaling 142 points (62g/80a) in 160 career USHL contests.

The Avalanche's final selection (seventh round, 187th overall) was 5-foot-11, 194-pound defenseman Nick Leivermann from Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota. Leivermann, 18, served as captain of the Eagles in 2016-17, totaling 34 points (10g/24a) in 21 contests and adding four points (1g/3a) in two playoff games. A University of Notre Dame commit, he also skated in eight games for the USHL's Bloomington Thunder, tallying one point (1a).

• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board